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Why We Should Treat the Defense Supply Chain as a Network
The benefits of networks in supply chain management are significant, including increased collaboration, greater visibility, and improved risk management. It’s time for defense organizations to shift to networked supply chains.
The US Department of Defense, like private industry, has been challenged with the same debacles as the commercial sector, and has tried to solve their logistics challenges in traditional ways. The results have been as unimpressive as they have been in the commercial sector. It’s time we reconsidered the nature of the defense supply chain, and how technologies can provide enhanced capabilities and efficiency at lower cost.
The Challenges in the Defense Supply Chain
Just look at IT sustainment budgets. They have grown over time, yet modernization of the embedded solutions, including ERPs, have not delivered a resilient modernization path. Enterprise implementations have neither been on budget nor on time, and when eventually deployed, address only a portion of their expected benefits, further increasing costs and time and often never reaching the original objective.Why We Should Treat the Defense Supply Chain as a Network: Modernization of embedded solutions has failed to deliver the full potential benefits that technology can offer global defense organizations. Click To Tweet
Joint and combined operations suffer from the lack of cohesive collaboration, requiring more manpower to deal with both repetitive and misaligned data/information, a growth in systems just to get and analyze data, and then no real integrated infrastructure to effectively execute the plans that have been developed. Furthermore, a lack of computing power “at the edge” places an unnecessary burden on tactical operations.
Reconsidering the Defense Supply Chain
The crux of the matter is: Defense is a true multi-tier, multi-party operation.
Traditional supply chain management platforms are not designed to solve that. But a network, which connects all nodes and tiers, is.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. But critical Defense missions cannot afford a “weak link”.
A digital supply chain network enables not just real-time visibility across all mission partners but provides execution actionability on that same single version of the truth, while interoperating with existing systems.
Defense gains a clear modernization path while enhancing mission processes, with the ability to shrink the existing infrastructure, often in a self-funding manner. Everyone in the network (services, suppliers, transportation providers, maintainers, industrial base(s), and joint mission partners) gains benefits and advantages across that network.
This has proven impossible to do with today’s existing infrastructure.
Critical Capabilities for Defense Supply Chain Platforms
A digital supply chain network addresses these challenges, and provides many more capabilities and benefits.
- Supply and Transportation Agnostic – Manage all supply classes and transportation scheduling and tracking on a single platform.
- Enhanced Capability – Complete visibility of managed assets, including assets managed by other services, and the system knows the true value of inventory stocks.
- Increased Flexibility – Works with military processes as needed and is easily configured to meet specific military doctrinal and congressional /legislative mandates.
- Enables Joint Services – The Platform is multi-party, multi-echelon, allowing military services to build on each other’s investments and collaborate more closely.
- Never Goes Legacy – Adaptable and scalable while meeting both today’s and the future war fighter’s needs globally.
- Disconnected Operations – For austere and contested environments.
This is just a selection of the most critical capabilities. Let’s look at a few of these in more detail.
Control Towers for the Defense Supply Chain
Supply Chain Control Towers can provide a real time “digital twin” of the entire “supply network” synchronizing all components, data and actionability. These control towers can be thought of as a “Command Center”. Each tier of operations can see and take actions that are meaningful to them, And they can all do it on the same version of real-time data."The benefits of network thinking in supply chain management are significant, including increased collaboration, greater visibility, and improved risk management." -David Stephens Click To Tweet
Disconnected Operations in Austere Environments
But it doesn’t have to stop there. Pushing enterprise-level capabilities “to the edge” allows missions to be conducted in a “disrupted, disconnected, intermittent and low-bandwidth (DDIL)” environment. Whether it is pick/pack/ship, inspections, maintenance actions where both data and functions are available on a mobile device, or full enterprise capabilities that are disconnected for long periods of time (think ship/submarine or even small ground elements), you are still able to conduct your full mission and get “synchronized” to the enterprise when bandwidth is available. This guarantees there are no gaps in logistics activities when supporting critical missions in austere environments.
Modern by Default and “Never Legacy”
Taking it further, One Network’s Digital Supply Chain Network™ addresses an age-old challenge within the Department of Defense with its concept of “Never Legacy”. This enables any implementation to be supported as “COTS”, and modernizations are available to deploy as a customer chooses, assuring organizations of never having to go down a one-way street with no path of return.
Auditability and Compliance in Defense Organizations
The Digital Supply Chain Network™ gains some of the highest audit results of any system deployed, with customers receiving awards for their success in auditability. FIAR and FISCAM along with DLMS and IUID Registry are supported. A recent report identified only a small percentage of systems across DoD have achieved audit success.
“Five years after the Defense Department first accomplished the Herculean task of performing an audit of its books, it still has not adequately accounted for about 61% of its assets.”Travis Tritten, “Pentagon Disappointed It Failed Audit Again” Military.com
The Digital Supply Chain Network™ accelerates that path to unqualified auditability. In operation today in multiple DoD Services organizations with multiple Authority to Operate (ATOs), all enhanced security capabilities that are put into the platform, or any remediation activity that is required either due to changing DoD Security requirements or security scans are quickly made available to all Defense customers. Although reciprocity is available but not always leveraged across DoD, this approach increases the velocity of the cyber accreditation process with continuous ATO (cATO) capabilities.
A Secure Defense Supply Chain Network Platform That Supports the Past and Enables the Future
The secure network is an innovative, modernized, and transformative platform that matches agnostic supply to demand to transportation instantly, resulting in immediate increased velocity, agility, transparency, and resilience. This equals increased synergy, true value optimization, and increased mission effectiveness and efficiency.
The network allows users to onboard one time and connect instantly with anyone on the network. It has a patented, state-of-the-art permissibility security framework which ensures access to data is strictly controlled and secure.Why We Should Treat the Defense Supply Chain as a Network: The Digital Supply Chain Network is the only platform with real-time decision-making and execution capabilities… Click To Tweet
The Digital Supply Chain Network™ will never go legacy with its consistent updates, and it has a modular architecture giving users flexibility to add new capabilities when and how they see fit. With multi-party workflows and backward compatibility, combined with a federated multi-party publish and subscribe master data management solution, the network empowers users across the full lifecycle of logistics processes, with precision and integration to all other operational processes and systems.
The Digital Supply Chain Network™ is the world’s first and only real-time decision-making and execution logistics network, providing unprecedented interaction and collaboration between users at multiple levels, and the ability to both see and action instantly and simultaneously.
With increased hostilities and uncertainty around the globe, Defense organizations deserve these capabilities now more than ever.